The Magical Mobster Restaurant Tour


Did you catch Tim O’Connor’s article on Joaquin “Jack” Garcia, the Cuban-born FBI agent who posed as an Italian mobster and infiltrated a Gambino crime family? And the 60 Minutes interview with him the week before? What struck me the most? Of course — the food! Mobsters are obsessed with food! Garcia says in order to slip totally undercover, he had to know he watched the Food Network (especially Mario) to learn about cooking and eating Italian. Just make sure you don’t listen to Mario when trying to pose as an Italian-American mobster! Mario pronounces Italian words with a European accent — not the way people talk ’round here: Muzz for mozzarella; gabbagoul for capricola; brujut for proscuitto… you get the picture.

Now get this picture: 10 local (well, regional) restaurants mentioned in Garcia’s recent tell-all book, “Making Jack Falcone: An Undercover FBI Agent Takes Down a Mafia Family” (Touchstone).


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My favorite quote from the book?

Page 94: “The Mafia is all about food. These guys might not have been committing crimes three to five times a day, but they were certainly eating nicely three to five times a day. Every night they’d mention a different Italian restaurant somewhere in the tristate area they wanted to try. One night the wiseguys might say, ‘Let’s go to Port Chester. There’s a new joint over there that’s owned by Joey Potsandpans and Vinne Bagadonuts is his maitre d.’ ‘Have appetite, will travel’ could have been their motto.”


About Author

Liz Johnson is content strategist for The Journal News and, and the founding editor of lohudfood, formerly know as Small Bites. As food editor, she won awards from the New York News Publishers Association, the Association of Food Journalists and the Associated Press. She lives in Nyack with her husband and daughter on a tiny suburban lot they call their farm — with fruit trees, an herb garden, and a yardful of lettuce, tomatoes, onions, shallots, cucumbers, zucchini, radishes, cabbage, peppers, Brussels sprouts and carrots and four big blueberry bushes.


  1. They eat at Godfather’s Pizza. Sinatra on the jukebox, along with Felonious Monk. And, I think you meant bagadonuts. What in hell is a badadonuts – donuts where you put the hole in with a .38?

  2. my copy of the map didn’t give the name of the restaurants. Can you list them for us? Thanks!

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